Mini Review: LEGO Brawls – Disappointly Basic Brick Battles That Stutter On Switch
Originally released back in September of 2019 on Apple Arcade, Lego Brawls is a Super Smash Bros. style fighting game that sees you jump into eight-player action as one of over 200 unlockable Lego minifigures. You’ll battle it out here across a slew of Lego-themed arenas in free-for-all fights or cooperative face-offs where two teams of four duel over a simple objective. It sounds exciting, it looks great, and we absolutely love Lego! Unfortunately, it’s all let down by extremely basic gameplay and stuttering performance on Switch.
Yes, as much as this one is right up our blocky plastic street, it’s hard to see anyone, beyond very young kids, getting a lot of time out of what’s on offer here. There may be an absolute ton of minifigures, costumes, and other bits and pieces to unlock as you play and earn studs — something which will undoubtedly keep some young fans busy for quite a while — but in terms of the actual brawls, well, it’s a very shallow and disappointing experience that quickly becomes a repetitive button-mashing bore.
Fights here give you a basic attack, the ability to jump, and space for two specials that you’ll pick up from blocks scattered around arenas. Initially, the specials are a good laugh and there’s plenty of daft stuff like Lego sharks, rockets, drills, lasers, horses, and so on to collect and batter your enemies with but, before long, the excitement wears off as you realise that all of these power-ups control in the exact same manner and don’t really add any sort of strategic depth beyond simply barrelling through enemies for an easy kill.
Lego Brawls’ battles are very simply a case of hammering buttons and hoping for the best when it comes down to it and none of this is helped by the fact that there’s constant stuttering in online play at launch and it can be very hard to keep an eye on where your character is due to how far out the camera likes to zoom during the chaos. Not a great mix.
With eight-player local play, online free-for-all, and an online co-operative mode to dig into across a range of famous Lego sets, such as Ninjago, Pirates, The Hidden Side, and Jurassic World, this game has the bones of a really great party brawler, and it does look very nice, but there’s just no getting around the fact it’s tediously simple and messy stuff that’s also laughably over-priced — and this is the real sticking point. You might be tempted to look on Lego Brawls as pleasantly daft nonsense for your youngest Lego fans if it weren’t quite so ridiculously priced on Switch, especially when you consider how little it cost originally as part of Apple Arcade.
Beyond the ability to collect minifigs and customise your character — something that does nothing to really change up the actual battling at the heart of it all — there’s very, very little here to sink your teeth into. It all ends up feeling like a rather poor free-to-play mobile game, and one that doesn’t perform very well on Nintendo’s hardware.